If the market is efficient, then the Vegas point spread is a distillation of any and all information relevant to the outcome of NFL games, whether it be touted draft picks, roster moves, or key players returning from injury. However, with three (interminable) weeks of pre-season to go, there is only an established market for the first two weeks of the regular season. Two weeks of games is not a large enough sample to derive a 32 team ranking. My model needs at least three weeks of games before it really gets going. So, while I can't use the market just yet, I can use what a significant portion of the market uses for its opening lines: Cantor Gaming.
Cantor Gaming has published projected point spreads for the first sixteen weeks of the 2014 NFL season. The table below represents the rankings implied by those point spreads (with more weight given to the "real money" updates for Week 1 and Week 2). In the table, "GPF" stands for "Generic Points Favored", and it is what one would expect a team to be favored by against a league average opponent on a neutral field. I also included two rankings from last year: "Pre" and "Wk16". The "Pre" column represents the derived pre-season Cantor rankings from this post. The "Wk16" column is where the rankings ultimately landed after the first sixteen weeks of regular season play.
Parity ShmarityLast year, the Broncos, Seahawks, and Niners opened the season as the top three teams, finished the season in the top three, and now open this season as well in the top three. The Raiders and Jaguars find themselves similarly entrenched at the bottom of these rankings.
Both the Packers and Bears are resurgent this year, getting Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler back from mid-season injuries. The Colts begin the season at 11th, but if these rankings are to be believed you might as well give them the AFC South title now given their competition (Houston #23, Tennessee #30, and Jacksonville #32).
These rankings line up fairly closely to the market's Superbowl futures odds, with the Colts' higher ranking in terms of Superbowl probability most likely due to the above mentioned weakness of the AFC South.